Why Should I Send My Child to Preschool?
You should think about sending your child to preschool for at least a few hours each week. Preschool is a good idea even if you do not work outside of the home and can be with your child all day. Today’s kindergarten students do best when they know how to get along with other children before the first day of school. Preschool also helps them get ready by showing them letters and numbers and books before they start kindergarten. Preschoolers often come to that first day of kindergarten eager to learn.
Choosing a Preschool
Preschool is a great learning experience for your child. It allows him to practice being around other children. What are you looking for when you are trying to find a preschool? What is important? How do you decide?
- Spend at least one or two hours as a visitor watching what goes on.
- Are the children happy?
- Are the children involved in the activities going on?
- Preschool should be fun because young children learn through play.
- Do the teachers seem to enjoy children?
- Do they listen to the children?
- Do they look the children in the eye by getting down on their level?
- Do teachers play with the children?
- Do they engage the children in interesting activities and games?
- California has specific laws about the number of children allowed in each class. The number of children allowed is 12 for every adult in childcare center.
- Preschool will help to prepare your child for kindergarten. It helps your child to be a part of a large group of children before they enter a formal classroom.
- Some activities should be in groups. But it is important to have individual activities for your child.
- There should be meals and snacks.
- It is good to have a certain amount of structure. But there should also be time for free play and special events.
Do Preschools Cost Money?
Some preschools charge parents and others do not. Take a look at some of your options.
- There are many choices available to you. There are private schools that charge parents. There are also programs that are part of a community center or church.
- Your child may qualify for Head start or another free program based on your income.
- Preschools are listed in the phone book.
- The Parents Guide that comes with your Kit for New Parents also has a list of resources.
Get Ready for School
Your child will need to see her doctor before she goes to kindergarten. Her doctor will make sure she is ready for this new experience. Your child’s growth will be checked.
Her developmental skills like speech will be tested. The doctor will want to know that she is emotionally ready for kindergarten. Your child’s vision and hearing should also be tested. Your doctor will make sure your child has had all the needed immunizations. Any booster shots may be given at this time. A test for tuberculosis will be given. Your child’s doctor will also fill out all the paperwork needed by the school.
Ways You Can Help
- Talk to your child about what to expect when he goes to kindergarten. This will help him to be calm and enjoy his first day.
- Explain how his routine will change.
- Help him choose a few school supplies to take to the first day of class. This will make him excited to go to school.
- Drive or walk by the school once in a while just so he starts to know that this is “his school.”
- Some schools invite students to drop by to meet the teacher before the first day of class. Ask the school if they allow this.
All of this helps your child get ready for that first day and quiets any fears. Talk to your child’s preschool teacher if you do not think your child is ready for kindergarten. That person sees your child in action every day. The school can also help you decide if your child is ready.
If your child has been growing and learning like most children this age, though, she is ready. You as her parents are providing the foundation for the rest of her life. This is the beginning of how she will think, behave, feel and communicate.
—- from First5 Advice for New Parents